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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Long story ahead...

Last year, I spent countless hours, days, weeks, and months agonizing over my first new car purchase since my '09 Scion xB. I'm a technician at a Toyota dealer, but was set on a "fun" car...250+hp, MT, and preferably a hatchback. Toyota offered nothing in that segment. I looked at the Focus ST and the GTI, but I questioned the reliability of Ford and VW. I plan on keeping my car well beyond payoff. I also thought I needed AWD so Subaru was the frontrunner from the beginning. I looked at the '14 hatch, but when the '15 came out with the FA20, 6-speed, and updated interior, I figured I could live without the hatch.

I placed the order with Heuberger and waited 2 months, and had the car shipped to me, Nov. 20 2015...'16 WRX Limited 6MT CBS w/o HK/Nav Package, STi STS. I really loved it at first. I had the windows tinted and installed RCE Yellows in the first month I owned it. The car handled like a dream...the best I've owned, and definitely the fastest car I've owned. I really loved it at first, but the honeymoon faded quickly.

After making my daily 30-minute(one way) commute for a couple months, and a couple road trips, I found out just how uncomfortable this car was. The clutch, seats, and seating position constantly irritated me. I found myself constantly adjusting the seats. While the engine was strong, the power delivery was excessively peaky which made it tedious to drive in traffic. I thought about getting it tuned, but I already worried about reliability beyond 100k miles.

The stock stereo was terrible for a car with an msrp of $32k. Bluetooth connection was unreliable, and would often not connect automatically. Aftermarket is such a pain in new cars, and I couldn't justify spending $35k for the upgraded HK audio because that's STi money, and $30k was my budget(discount through Heuberger). I wish I had, though. I also blew off many of the reviews complaining about rattles and cabin noise because I figured after owning a Scion, it couldn't be that bad. I was wrong.

All this was compounded by left knee and foot issues. I was ready to get rid of it during the summer, but a ladder fell on the hood while I was at work. It took a few months to get that sorted out with the body shop having to redo it for me. I kept trying to love the WRX, but this just soured the experience even more.

I had decided I wanted a Camry XSE V6, but they're so hard to find used because most V6 buyers are older and opt for the Avalon. I had seen a new one at my dealership a while ago, but it was out of my price range. Thanks to the current Toyota rebates, it's now mine.

Aside from the auto vs manual and FWD vs AWD debates...the 2GR V6 is a beast and a pleasure to drive. It has all the power of the WRX, but it's much more refined and smooth. The WRX had trouble starting on the steep hills in my area because it has no torque below 2000rpm. No offense, but with the same HP and torque ratings, NA V6 > turbo 4.

I've driven and worked on thousands of Camrys, and this XSE isn't your typical Camry. I'm comparing it to a WRX with RCE springs and performance alignment so it's not fair. It doesn't have the steering response or feel of the WRX (more caster would be nice), but it handles surprisingly well. It's a considerably bigger car with 225/45R18 V-rated, all-season Michelins, vs the smaller WRX with 245/40ZR18 Dunlop summer tires. With lowering springs, swaybars, and more sticky rubber, I won't miss the WRXs handling and grip.

Aside from the perfmance, the interior on the '17 XSE is much nicer. The leather seats are much more comfortable, with Ultrasuede accents and lumbar support. The JBL premium audio sounds much clearer. The head unit may not have Apple CarPlay or some of the nicer features from Ford, VW, etc., but it does what I need and it actually works! The V6 models also have an "acoustic noise-reducing front windshield." The car sounds like a Mercedes compared to the Subaru. Added features like Smart Key, LED low and high beam headlights, power passenger seat, adaptive cruise, lane departure, blind spot monitoring and pre collision are icing on the cake. My guitar cases fit in the trunk better, too.

I thought the WRX was a great value, but they really cut a lot of corners and cheap out in the interior and amenities, regardless of trim level. The new XSE V6 is just a nicer car, overall, and still less than my budget of $30k with the rebates.
 

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Well good luck.. Better then the other choices you mentioned.
 

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something else forever
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Your car. Your choice. Your life.

But I will say that the Toyota does save you more money, will give you less headache, and thankfully get less attention.

Glad you went with your heart and did what YOU felt was right.

Good luck! :D
 

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Yeah, your review sums up what has been said in numerous threads here on this topic.

The WRX/STI will fall on a niche market crowd of enthusiasts.

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Seems like an excellent choice for you, just sporty enough and sounds enjoyable to drive. The interior great, I may even like it more then the WRX tbh.
 

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TLDR... are we really going down this road again?!
 

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I like Subaru seats better but that's my back and everyone is different. The Camry has traditionally been the better car between it and the Impreza; however the Accord is also a great choice in that segment. Tough choice. I'd probably go Honda, Toyota, Subaru in that order but that's just today; tomorrow I may go Toyota, Honda, Subaru.
 

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I feel like the wrx/ sti are cars that you have to WANT otherwise for a daily commuter it falls short for a lot of things,
as you mentioned the seats are not super comfortable(for you, i think they are great but i do not drive long distances typically), sound quality isn't good (unless you opt for h/k)
all negatives aside its the perfect car for me, i love an engaging manual car with plenty of power to put a smile on my face, with an abundance of room to haul my friends and family everywhere if i have to, in all weather conditions it does not let me down
to me it is PERFECT
get the car that meets your needs and you wont be disappointed, just make sure you do your homework on the vehicles you want or you will pay the price down the road
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I feel like the wrx/ sti are cars that you have to WANT otherwise for a daily commuter it falls short for a lot of things... all negatives aside its the perfect car for me, i love an engaging manual car with plenty of power to put a smile on my face...just make sure you do your homework on the vehicles you want or you will pay the price down the road
I definitely wanted those things, and I did more homework than 99% of car buyers. I obsessed over everything. It just had no prior Subaru experience, and it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It was a blast on curvy back roads...it begs to be driven like a belligerent fool. I obliged far too often, and I would have broken the car at some point.

I had a million reasons...with left knee and foot injuries this year, and the fact that my wife can't drive it, the WRX just isn't the right car for me right now. Now the wife has an AWD Highlander, and she doesn't have to work when it snows so I can drive that when I need to.

And based on another thread, we already know the Camry will take the WRX in a straight line...

;)
...because racecar

LOL, I read that one. In all seriousness...from a roll, I can see it. The WRX has the advantage out of the hole, obviously, but the magazine 0-60 and 1/4-mile times (which are usually garbage and not realistic comparisons) are close.

I like Subaru seats better but that's my back and everyone is different. The Camry has traditionally been the better car between it and the Impreza; however the Accord is also a great choice in that segment. Tough choice. I'd probably go Honda, Toyota, Subaru in that order but that's just today; tomorrow I may go Toyota, Honda, Subaru.
Seats are definitely subjective. I liked the bolsters, but the seat bottom bolsters were too narrow. I'm not a big guy...5'7" 160lbs. I don't normally need lumbar support, but after a rough day at work or on a long trip, I definitely need the support.

Honda makes nice cars. My wife drove an '03 Civic for 7 years till we got her a Toyota('10 RAV, '13 Sienna, and currently a '13 Highlander AWD). Being a Toyota tech, I'm naturally biased toward Toyota for reliability and ease of maintenance or repair if needed. I actually preferred the Accord sedan styling to the Camry from 3-4 years ago, until the more recent facelift. When the '15 Camry XSE came out, I really liked the look.
 

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Well in the end there's only one person you have to please, and that's YOU.

Just a couple of points for discussion--there aren't a huge number of V6 Camrys locally, in fact probably more WRXs, and the list price is several thousand more than the WRX. I agree the base stereo in the WRX is not good, but it can be easily upgraded for not too much $$. I have a JL system I am EXTREMELY happy with.

I wanted AWD and a manual--you can have all kinds of opinions about performance, but personally I love the feel, the handling and the engine sound of the WRX. The manual is central to that, and that's one of the reasons I traded in my BMW X3. So, the Camry wouldn't really have been something on my radar screen.

As far as looks, yours looks great. The wheels really make that car stand out IMO, otherwise, it's a pretty conservative look.

The new Subaru actually tends more toward the conservative than I would like, but with a few cosmetic upgrades (window tint, contrasting front lip, mud flaps, etc.) it has a fairly aggressive look.

I will certainly agree the Camry has more refinement, should be more comfortable as a DD, and should have excellent reliability. Though based on my experience with Subarus and having an extended warranty, I don't have any concerns there for the foreseeable future.
 

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The WRX/STI will fall on a niche market crowd of enthusiasts.
This.

Well in the end there's only one person you have to please, and that's YOU.
And this.

I'm actually encouraged that the Subaru sports sedans are still driving away the more mainstream folks. (That sounds condescending, but not meant that way...by "more mainstream", I mean people that put a higher value on the creature comforts, ride quality, etc.) It implies that the car is still somewhat focused on the enthusiast side of things.

I always recommend Camry's; outstanding cars, and many members of my family have had positive experiences. But it will likely never qualify as "Ray's Daily Driver". Wrong-wheel drive, suspension too soft, and...this is a personal character flaw...I don't like driving a car where it's actually possible for me to pull up to a 4-way stop, and there are 3 more of them in view. :p

All that is just me babbling, though, enjoy the car! No one can tell you what's best for you.
 

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Toyota Camrys are a solid pick . . . right up there with the Accord . . . decent acceleration, handling, interior, amenities, reliability, etc.

A good car for many folks.

Just not for me . . . because at the end of the day . . . it's still a Camry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm actually encouraged that the Subaru sports sedans are still driving away the more mainstream folks. (That sounds condescending, but not meant that way...by "more mainstream", I mean people that put a higher value on the creature comforts, ride quality, etc.) It implies that the car is still somewhat focused on the enthusiast side of things.

I always recommend Camry's; outstanding cars, and many members of my family have had positive experiences. But it will likely never qualify as "Ray's Daily Driver". Wrong-wheel drive, suspension too soft, and...this is a personal character flaw...I don't like driving a car where it's actually possible for me to pull up to a 4-way stop, and there are 3 more of them in view. :p

All that is just me babbling, though, enjoy the car! No one can tell you what's best for you.
I get what you're saying...because of the mainstream stigma, it took months to convince myself I could drive a Camry. I feel older driving it(I'm 34), but I'm not gonna lie...now that I have a car with the creature comforts, ride quality, etc., it's really nice. And at least it's the sporty model with respectable handling and power with the V6, which isn't mainstream for a Camry.

I'm definitely not a "mainstream driver." I've lowered and modded everything I've owned, and I drive hard. At the end of the day, as fun as the WRX was, I had this nagging feeling that it would break. I shouldn't have that in a new car with a lein. It's that gut feeling that kept me from tuning it or doing anything beyond the shifter stop and lowering springs. I drove my xB extremely hard for 7 years, 98k miles. Didn't burn a drop of oil. It was bulletproof...and paid off.

Anyway, I wish everyone the best of luck with their Subarus. I had the windows tinted Friday, and future plans are springs and swaybars in the next couple months. I really like the look of the wheels, but I wish they were 1" wider so I could run 245/40R18s.
 

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Fair enough, I'll refile you under "Enthusiast Car Guy". :)
I think I was conflating you with someone else on here, who recently did a similar trade, and complained about a harsh ride.

Don't preach to me about "old", though. I just turned 50, and I'm stubbornly sticking with my enthusiast car ways, e.g. not liking the feel of FWD, insisting on a true manual transmission, weight under 3500 lbs, stiffer suspension, etc. I'll definitely give Toyota credit on that last one. I looked up the spec for the XSE V6, expecting it to be close to 4000 lbs. It's great that they kept the mass reasonable, and probably makes a difference in the feel of the car in transition.

My credentials: Not including the Toyota parts on the BRZ, I think I've personally owned 5 Toys over the years, starting with a lovely '75 Celica, that I wish I had back, now. I have so much faith in the brand that it's what we went looking for, for our oldest kid, when she started driving.

Cheers and good luck! :wiggles:
 

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I kind of feel like saying "I own a Camry" would make me feel horrible. Especially putting it in the class of "fast".


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I'm glad the OP found a car that he liked. Ultimately, that's the only thing that matters. If the WRX or STi isn't a good fit (whether we are talking physically or financially), don't do it. I'm pretty happy with my 16 WRX for a number of reasons - even if it will lose to a Camry in a rolling race. As an older guy (45 -> 46 this year), I don't find myself racing other cars (or Camrys) all that often :p

For me, the pluses outweigh the (few to me) minuses. The go everywhere AWD, the fast enough to be fun (but not illegal), good physical fit (I'm 5'7 and my GF is 5'6) and the fact that we have her car (Buick Encore) that can do all the shopping / carrying, fits well for us / our lifestyle. I do have the CVT/Eyesight/HK so can't complain about that, but the big minuses for me would be:
1) No Android / Apple (I think they fixed this in 2017 maybe)
2) Lamest TPMS I have ever seen. It doesn't tell you either tire pressure numbers or which tire / corner is low. For a brand that touts outdoorsy / bad weather performance, Subaru should realize people want to minimize exposure to said bad weather. I sure as heck don't want to have to check 4 tires to find the one slightly down tire and don't know anyone who does.
 

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I'm glad the OP found a car that he liked. Ultimately, that's the only thing that matters. If the WRX or STi isn't a good fit (whether we are talking physically or financially), don't do it. I'm pretty happy with my 16 WRX for a number of reasons - even if it will lose to a Camry in a rolling race. As an older guy (45 -> 46 this year), I don't find myself racing other cars (or Camrys) all that often :p

For me, the pluses outweigh the (few to me) minuses. The go everywhere AWD, the fast enough to be fun (but not illegal), good physical fit (I'm 5'7 and my GF is 5'6) and the fact that we have her car (Buick Encore) that can do all the shopping / carrying, fits well for us / our lifestyle. I do have the CVT/Eyesight/HK so can't complain about that, but the big minuses for me would be:
1) No Android / Apple (I think they fixed this in 2017 maybe)
2) Lamest TPMS I have ever seen. It doesn't tell you either tire pressure numbers or which tire / corner is low. For a brand that touts outdoorsy / bad weather performance, Subaru should realize people want to minimize exposure to said bad weather. I sure as heck don't want to have to check 4 tires to find the one slightly down tire and don't know anyone who does.

Agreed. However I suspect number 2 on your bad list is likely going to end up being a problem with most cars near to or under 30k.
 
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